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Bad Habits That Can Damage Your Child's Oral Health

Bad Habits That Can Damage Your Child's Oral Health

Good oral health habits start early. As parents, our role is to teach our children about the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Here are a few bad habits that can badly affect your child's oral health.

  • Tongue-thrusting

When your child thrusts his or her tongue against their teeth, it can cause damage. The tissues in the mouth can be damaged, and the teeth can shift out of their proper place. This type of behavior can lead to problems with speaking, eating, sleeping, and even self-esteem. It can also cause jaw soreness or pain. If you notice this habit in your child, talk to your dentist about possible ways to correct this behavior before it causes any problems.

  • Thumb-sucking

Thumb-sucking can be detrimental to your child's oral health because it can push the teeth out of alignment, create crowded teeth, and affect the bite. It can also affect speech development and cause problems with school pictures, as the habit is not aesthetically pleasing when the child smiles at the camera. Talk to one of our dentists about ways to help your child stop thumb-sucking.

The good news is that most children grow out of the habit by the time they are five. If they continue to suck their thumbs past the age of five, it could lead to long-term problems with their teeth. If you have concerns or questions, call your dentist to schedule an appointment.

  • Nail-biting

Biting the fingernails or toenails often can easily lead to worn down and chipped teeth, especially if the habit is severe enough. The constant contact of the teeth with nails can wear away the enamel and cause chips or cracks in the teeth. If left alone for too long, those chips can eventually turn into larger fractures and even require a dental crown to repair. Before your child even has the option of getting his or her permanent teeth, nail biting can damage the gums and lead to painful infections. Not to mention the risk of germs being spread from your mouth to other areas of your body when you bite your nails. Try to show your child what damage their nails can cause and help them kick this bad habit as soon as possible!

  • Pacifier use

Thumb sucking and pacifier use are normal developmental behaviors for babies, but that doesn't mean that they can't be damaging to your child's oral health. In fact, thumb-sucking can actually change the shape of your child's mouth over time. When the thumb is sucked for prolonged periods of time, it can push the tip of the upper front teeth forward and push the lower teeth back. This can create an overbite, or reverse bite, in your child once he or she is an adult. Reverse bites can result in misaligned teeth and wear on tooth enamel. In addition to causing problems with permanent teeth development, pacifier use can also contribute to early childhood tooth decay. Babies who use pacifiers are far more likely to develop cavities because pacifiers can introduce cavity-causing bacteria to the mouth. These conditions can be prevented by stopping the use of thumbs or pacifiers before the age of three.

Aurora Children's Dentistry, located in Anchorage, AK, offers the best dental care services to patients with the help of modern technologies and expert dentists. Dial (907) 336-1234 and schedule an appointment with our dentist to learn more about dental care services and receive a complete dental checkup. 

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